Sophomore quarterback Billy Farris may not be from New Orleans, but the Baton Rouge native is fully aware of the effects Hurricane Katrina had a year ago.
“I went down there (New Orleans) last May and it wasn’t the same,” said Farris. “It lost its feel. Half the town was gone.”
Although much of the city has not been repaired, Farris knows a step was taken in the right direction earlier this week when the New Orleans Saints played host to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football.
The game was the first played inside the Superdome since it was partially destroyed by Katrina a little more than a year ago.
“It’s good see to people getting excited again. You know, people start to fill the city again,” said Farris about Monday’s game – which drew the largest viewing audience in the history of ESPN.
“After something so horrible happened so close to where I’m from, it lifts your spirits to see that something like football can do that to a society,” said Farris.
Monday night’s game could not have gone any better for the Saints and their home crowd.
The very first possession by the Falcons resulted in a blocked punt recovered for a Saints’ touchdown, propelling them to a 23-3 victory.
“I started yelling at my TV after that first play I was so excited,” said Farris, who attended several Saints games when he was in high school.
“People need something to look up to, something to lift their spirits,” said Farris about the significance of the Saints to the people of New Orleans. “It was the football and it was awesome.”
Staff writer Sean Star can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.